Today’s internet denizens expect much more than basic text on a webpage. “Being online” has come a long way from labored searches and hit-or-miss hyperlinks. Instead, we live in an age of incredible connectivity and information.
Readers no longer search out and consume content but constantly interact with it. Every online experience, whether desktop or mobile, is full of reacting, sharing, “swiping,” commenting, and, yes, buying. Physical content, like billboards and direct mail pieces, features QR codes to link to online content or offer Augmented Reality (AR) experiences.
Financial services customers are constantly exposed to words. When seeking a new solution, UX copywriting brings clarity to decision-making by ensuring that the words used are the right words—right being defined as words that drive engagement and prompt action.
What Is UX Copywriting?
User experience (UX) copywriting is the style of writing used by marketing professionals in the financial services marketplace to create branded experiences that meet users’ needs, expectations, and preferences. A UX copywriter is tasked with finding the language to guide a user through their journey with a brand and come out the other end with a thoroughly positive impression – and perhaps even a willingness to return or recommend the brand to others.
When we think about marketing copy, we probably think about attention-grabbing, snappy copy because its purpose is to get noticed. In contrast, the best UX copy is the least noticed. Rather than building brand image, telling a story, or outright selling, UX copy is designed to guide a user seamlessly and successfully through a journey and to their destination with minimal hassle or frustration. It should be short, to the point, and clear; users shouldn’t have to spend much time or energy reading a given section.
For financial services, where many people feel a heightened sense of pressure and occasional confusion in navigating business offerings, UX copy is more important than ever. One recent study found that only 30% of customer prospects who visit bank websites looking into signing up for an account will continue to a product details page, and only 13% will complete the application. This can be for any number of reasons, but copy that is confusing, wordy, or overly long can be held responsible for some missed opportunities.
Here are some tips for writing UX copy for a few components of your marketing strategy.
Think of website UX copy as an extension of your overall customer service: it’s there to help customers navigate their accounts, answer questions, and tell them whatever else they need where the quest for information doesn’t rise to the level of in-person support. In one survey, 69% of customers who planned to leave their bank said it was due to poor service, not poor products. One aspect of poor service is a website that is either confusing or difficult to navigate. UX copywriting practices help make your website easy to use and genuinely helpful without drawing attention to itself.
- Stick to short sentences. Users on a financial institution’s website are there to get an answer or carry out an action. Use short – but still friendly – phrases to guide them smoothly and efficiently.
- Use simple language. A pitfall for many financial users is that they feel like they don’t understand complex concepts with their money. When writing user-oriented website copy, stick to engaging but easily comprehensible language and avoid jargon.
- Don’t get carried away. It’s tempting to go on tangents, but too many extra details or unnecessary links can distract users from their purpose and lead to a negative experience. Stay on topic.
Today’s email copywriting functions as a combination of traditional marketing copy and UX copy: the attention-grabbing style of classic marketing meets the action-driven succinctness of UX. As with websites, you’re looking for these emails to boost conversion rates, so try techniques like these:
- Write a memorable subject line. Most email recipients decide whether to read or ignore an email within three seconds. Don’t get sent to spam just for being a business email – write a subject line that makes readers want to open the email.
- Get right to the point. As with subject lines, recipients will stop reading and delete if an email bores them or is irrelevant. Front-load your email with short, clear copy that immediately tells users why they should keep reading.
- Match website conventions. Your emails should be designed to sync with the rest of your online presence. That means visible, clickable buttons, links underlined or in a contrasting color, and other design features to make clickthrough options clear.
Developing a social media profile for a regulated financial institution can be tricky. It requires a balancing act between enough gravity to convince people to entrust you with their money and enough creativity to stand out from the “stuffy” crowd and get users to act to get information or sign up. Digitally-engaged customers are twice as likely to be multi-line clients, meaning more interaction and revenue. Here’s what to keep in mind:
- Know your audience. UX copywriters know that every customer journey is personal, and not every post is for every person. Don’t be afraid to get specific if it fits with the overall brand persona.
- Get to the point. Social media users scroll fast, so be sure the first thing your audience sees – whether it’s an image, the first frames of a video, or the first lines of text – provides an incentive to keep reading and interacting.
- Embrace visuals. Whether it’s photography, sleekly-designed info slides, graphics, or something else, an image is worth a thousand words – and in the short attention span of UX copy and social media, it’s more valuable than ever.
Think UX copywriting is only for digital interactions? Think again! Direct mail remains a core part of marketing. Whether you’re sending brochures, postcards, promotional letters, or other materials, UX copywriting strategies can help make the most of this classic marketing tactic.
- Start with a great headline. The “father of advertising,” David Ogilvy, once claimed that headlines are read five times more often than body copy. Make the most of those few words by posing a question, making a bold statement, or offering to solve a notable problem.
- Keep paragraphs succinct. UX copy is about guiding a reader towards a specific goal, so body copy should be concise and communicate the key ideas quickly.
Emphasize calls to action. Once you’ve provided info to the reader, end with a clear call to action that makes it easy but urgent for them to take the next steps.